I’m Chuck Wilson with an ESPN Radio Extra Point.
Manhattanville College senior Toni Smith’s decision to turn away from the U.S. flag as she stands with her basketball team for the singing of the National Anthem has sparked debate across the country.
While many have been outraged viewing the display as disrespectful, others have argued that Toni Smith is right to follow her conscience and express in this way, her disapproval with the U.S government’s policies.
ESPN Page 2 Columnist Ralph Wiley wrote that the venue for expressing her views doesn’t matter and described Smith’s protest as “her quiet, private expression to herself”.
This is not “a quiet, private expression”.
She didn’t stay in the locker room until after the Anthem was sung.
She made her views quite public.
But, when Toni Smith chooses to turn her back on the symbol of our country, she is not doing so as an individual, but along the sidelines with her teammates.
She is in uniform, representing her team and her school.
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Chuck Wilson is an award-winning host, interviewer, and commentator. He was an original host on ESPN Radio and was with the network for close to 17-years. In 2007, Wilson was named one of the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America by the Institute for International Sport. He is the founder of Even Field.